Little Ochie, Manchester

Jamaica is blessed with a tropical maritime climate, so we enjoy easy year-round access to freshly caught seafood. Several mom-and-pop stalls and restaurants will prepare this seafood to order, but a few stops have become cultural landmarks cemented in the homes and hearts of most Jamaican households and are even marketed to foreigners as must-see stops. Like most Kingstonians, my usual seafood stops are Port Royal, Hellshire or Port Henderson Road due to their closer proximity, but I’ve always heard of Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant in Alligator Pond, South Manchester. Why? Well, they are said to be one of the best and the oldest so Little Ochie has become somewhat of a household name. Thus, I was more than excited to turn what was originally intended to be a Treasure Beach stop into dining at this seafood stalwart and quintessential Jamaican restaurant.


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Little Ochie was opened in 1989 by Evrol “Blackie” Christian and grew over time to become the spot for residents of Manchester and St. Elizabeth to satisfy a craving for authentic Jamaican seafood– that enticing steam fish and bammy, fried fish drenched with vinegar and pickled onions, freshly-caught curried shrimp and garlic lobster. Located out of the way on a fisherman’s beach far from the nearest town, Little Ochie is a rustic laid-back kind of restaurant which welcomes sandy slippers, short shorts and tank tops. Old boats have been retrofitted with thatched roofs, raised on stilts and outfitted with benches and tables for seating.

Where is Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant?

Roughly 45 minutes’ drive from Mandeville, Little Ochie Restaurant is located in the Alligator Pond District in south Manchester on the border of St. Elizabeth. In fact, the left turn from the highway A2 which takes you to Gutters Main Road, a straight road which will take you to the restaurant, is actually located right next to the sign for crossing parish borders into St. Elizabeth. Gutters Main Road winds in and out of both parishes but Google Maps has the restaurant’s map marker as Manchester and most sources seem to also agree on this. Thus, I chose to include this destination under the Manchester tab.

Alligator Pond lies at the foot of the Don Figueroa Mountains to the north-east, some 35 km from Mandeville. The name ‘Alligator Pond’ is derived from the shape of the mountain range which looks like an alligator’s back when viewed from the coast.

Look out for the signs which will tell you where to make the right turn to the restaurant once you enter the district of Alligator Pond. There is free parking available in a decent-sized lot. If you’re only interested in checking out the beach instead of dining, none would be the wiser. Feel free to park and do just that, but that would be a waste of a trip from Mandeville, wouldn’t it?


Little Ochie Restaurant & Beach

The first thing that hit me as I alighted from the car was the strong gusty sea breeze that caressed my face but unforgivingly whipped my curls into a frenzy. There were pelicans flying overhead by the dozens and I noticed that the crowd was almost 100% local. Don’t expect excellent customer service. No one is working for tips, and there’s hardly any wait staff. This is the kind of place where you’re better off ordering ahead (if someone picks up the phone), or where you should order before you’re starving. Enter the main restaurant where the food is cooked, order then pay before your food is prepared. Don’t be surprised to wait as long as 10 minutes for someone to take your order, and if you want fish, they’ll open a freezer and show you the day’s catch of snapper, grunt or parrot fish for you to select your pick. The overall time from placing orders to getting your meal may take an hour or even more. They serve just about everything by the way done in every style you can think of: fish, crab, lobster, shrimp and even sea-puss (octopus).


Parrotfish consume the algae and seaweeds which carpet our local coral reefs and can result in their death by shading out the light they need. Secondly, they play a crucial role in creating white sand by passing out undigested coral fragments. Only the parrotfish does this unique job, so say NO to parrotfish! Currently there’s no ban in place to prevent their catch or consumption, but if we stop buying and eating parrotfish, it’s hoped that fishermen will stop catching them and improve their populations.

Then again, this is Jamaica so no problem! You’re on island time. Have a cup of fish soup, enjoy a hearty conversation over beers and check out the beach while you wait. However, the beach is a utilitarian fisherman’s type of beach, so the waves are rough and there are loads of boats dotting the coastline. The sand is dark, almost black, characteristic of south coast beaches. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the view immensely and watched the waves ebb and flow while I not-so-patiently waited for my meal. Smelling other customers’ food while I waited and that salty sea air made me ravenous. To make matters worse, there was no soup available during my wait. They said the soup needed reheating as the wood fire used to cook it was out and it had cooled.. but of course, the only way of reheating it was to light another fire. (Why would they microwave it right?) I literally saw them gather the wood and take it to the kitchen! Something about this simple rustic way of doing things was very satisfying, and dare I say amusing.


And we nuh need sneakers (No)
Sand grains a massage mi feet, blessing a flow like river

– “Cool As The Breeze/Friday”, Chronixx

Well, the large pot of soup eventually got hot enough and my small cup (the standard size) for JM$180 was delicious. Two medium fish were ordered, one escoveitch (fried) and the other steamed. They come with one side each but I chose extra sides of half-a-dozen festivals (fried semi-sweet savoury dough) and 2 bammies (cassava cakes). They came up to around $3500JMD. The fried fish was just alright, but the steam fish was amazing! I’d give the fried fish 5/10 and that steamed fish a solid 9/10. However, the ambience deserves a full 10/10. Eating seafood at the source and watching the dying rays of sunlight over the Caribbean Sea with great company was a memorable experience.


Wrap Up

Little Ochie is worth the stop once you’re interested in enjoying authentic Jamaican experiences, but I can understand why it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’d definitely go again but next time, I’ll go with the steamed fish. Perhaps they were having a bad day or rushing orders, but the fried fish wasn’t memorable. Otherwise, Little Ochie reminds me of Jamaica from yesteryear and I thoroughly enjoyed the rustic experience, the gorgeous foamy waves, beautiful black sand and contrasting kaleidoscope of colour provided by the fishermen’s boats, houses and stalls.

P.S. I didn’t actually find out why Evrol Christian chose to name his restaurant Little Ochie, perpetually confusing tourists who think it may be located in or somewhat related to Ocho Rios “Ochi” on the north coast in St. Ann. If you know the reason, let me know in the comments. Also, check out the annual Little Ochie Seafood Festival in July which features various local and regional artistes and attracts patrons from far and wide. Sea, sand, food and music– what could be better than that? πŸ™‚

Happy New Year by the way! ‘Til next time.

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Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a travel blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. The blog is curated by Rochelle Knight, a junior resident (M.D.) in internal medicine and published author. She began the blog in 2016 as a medical student & wants to see the world, starting with her home country. Purchase her book 'SIGHTSEE JAMAICA' on Amazon and join her in Jamaica!

26 thoughts on “Little Ochie, Manchester

  1. I love this honest review of Little Ochie. As I have been saying since 2019, sigh, Covid, I can’t wait to visit Jamaica again. Girl, that is the way it is at those kind of restaurants. We have a few setup in Ortoire (on the way to Mayaro) in Trinidad and the wait time is a major issue, and the beach is across the road and down the street so most people just stay and sit and wait on their food. We mainly get lobster and whatever fish they catch. I wonder how the shrimp tastes at Little Ochie? I feel I will order it whenever I reach πŸ™‚ Great review as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I could say the same for Trinidad too.. I didn’t even scratch the surface. Man, can’t these restaurants work on the wait time though? It’s like they know their food is amazing so we gonna wait anyway (like the KFC drive through in Jamaica, ha). When next I go, I’ll take shrimp and tell you how it was although maybe.. if covid doesn’t get in the way.. you may just be there too. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year btw girl! Hope it’s a great one for you and yours.


    2. Thank you my dear. Yes, enjoy Jam for me. Covid is a trip but we are surviving, we are actually doing our first public hike with a small group at the end of the month, (I think the last time we hiked was sometime middle of last year)! Anyways stay safe, have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seafood in Alligator Pond is always a must for my family every time we go home. My favorite is grilled fish with babby. I’m so glad you mentioned the Parrotfish as it is one of my favorites but will have to refrain from eating them based on this new information you’ve shared. The fact that we live in the same parish makes it an easy drive for us. However, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate Oswald’s Seafood Restaurant, which is just down the road, compared to Little Ochie. Little Ochie is indeed a great place to catch a nice sea breeze while feasting on freshly caught seafood, while simultaneously enjoying breathtaking views. You have certainly done this place justice with your post, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m happy to have stumbled across one of your hang out spots. πŸ™‚ The view and sea breeze was really lovely. I’ll be back but perhaps after checking out Treasure Beach. It’s been on my list now for far too long. I hope you get a chance to visit Jamaica this year, and don’t forget to write when you can. Sometimes I miss posts in the reader but you can always tag or leave me a message/comment to ensure I see it. Happy New Year as well! πŸ™‚ Hope this one is filled with happiness, good health and success as you complete your studies.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Treasure Beach has so many places to see that you’ll end up going back on several ocassions. It is also a great place to visit since it is relatively close to home.

      Thank you for the new year well wishes. The priority for me this year is to finish my studies by the end of the summer. By the way, I was home in December but no time to reach out to you while I was there. May be next time we can do lunch.

      I haven’t written anything in some time but have a few drafts that I’m working on for posting this month. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Until next time…

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I keep hearing such lovely things about Treasure Beach, I really have no excuse to have never been! I’ll ensure I go on my next outing. πŸ™‚

      That’s okay. I understand life gets in the way sometimes.. Hopefully next visit, and best wishes with the studies. You’re practically at the end of the tunnel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. wow! this was so nice! I love supporting these local mom and pop shops and the ambience is amazing. I love the sea breeze with a nice fish.
    Definitely adding this to my list!
    Thank you for showing us πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seafood is one of my favorite types of food; I’ve been eating a ton more fish these days due to a change of diet in my family, and I’m always looking forward to trying different kinds of seafood (e.g. types of fish, different forms of preparation, etc.). Thanks for sharing this restaurant in Jamaica; I just might have to go to try it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty cool. You’d certainly love Little Ochie then, but expect a long wait time! I guess they say good things come to those who wait, haha. I’d be happy to recommend other seafood places when you visit though. We have loads of delicious seafood eateries everywhere. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by Rebecca!

      Liked by 1 person

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